Friday Update 8-29-14
Friday Update 8-29-14
Greetings faithful readers. A very important week as a group of advocates traveled to Washington, DC for the first of many dialogues on assisted outpatient treatment. Read the reflections of those who participated and you will be forced to challenge assumptions of "us versus them." Given the tenor of Friday Update this week, what better way to start off than with Prince Royal singing the classic Ben E. King song Stand by Me. Get your groove on, align your chakras, and then get to readin' Friday Update!
Most important reads for this week
Advocates dialogue for meaningful mental health reform, pure and simple
The advocates dialogue on assisted outpatient treatment held earlier this week was a defining moment for the Children's Mental Health Network. At the heart of the Network is the determination to be a "collective voice" of those dedicated to improving services and supports for children, adolescents, young adults and their families. This dialogue was that and more, and is emblematic of who we are as a movement. Network faithful should be proud. Read each and every one of the reflections of dialogue participants and discover the commonality of those with widely diverse opinion. The message we are giving Congress with our actions is that we are not going away, we will not stay silent, and we will bring civility and compromise back to the national dialogue to improve mental health services in America.
- Dialogue on AOT uplifting, enlightened, and hopeful
Liza Long – I left our meeting feeling uplifted, enlightened, and best of all, hopeful. I hope that Representative Barber and Representative Murphy can have the same kind of candid, heartfelt, personal conversations that I was honored to share with my new friends. Our hope that things will be better depends on our leaders' ability to set partisan politics aside, and to make difficult decisions that can save lives while preserving rights.
- Anosognosia: Curing the disease of not knowing about effective interventions for, and prevention of, serious mental illnesses
Dennis Embry – Our convener host, Scott, is a cross between an evangelical pastor and boy-scout leader, who runs the Children's Mental Health Network. One spiky-blonde dude is wearing a Google Glass, decidedly NOT DC standard issue, along with a very straight-arrow guy. The women are bubbly and warm. All these folks must be my people. Stories of crisis, drama, challenge, despair, resilience and uncertainty move me. Our straight-arrow friend tells an equally compelling story of having to draft Kendra's Law, leading up to the idea of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT). I am sure the legislative aids think they have landed in the middle of an alien EST group.
- Reflections on the AOT dialogue
Leah Harris – I'll be honest: when Scott asked me to participate in a dialogue with some folks who have been diametrical opponents in the policy sphere, my first internal reaction was fear and "hell no." But then I remembered what my mentors had written years ago – the first step is simply willingness to engage and to keep an open mind and heart.
- We owe it to legislators to change the tone of our debate
Brian Stettin – I have often wished we could dial down the vitriol and discuss issues like AOT with a mutual recognition that we are all good people with the same laudable goal of helping folks with severe mental illness maintain safety and sanity. Right now we are generating heat at the expense of light. We risk squandering the moment of national focus that Rep. Murphy's bill has brought to our issues. The noble experiment that Scott led us through this week was a great first step. Who knows, we might even inspire some brave souls in Congress to defy the forces of gridlock and reflexive partisanship.
- Youth advocacy take on assisted outpatient treatment
Martin Rafferty – –Anecdotal story telling has recently been frowned upon as a method of educating stakeholders. In the advocacy world of 2014, data and best practices take center stage. This wasn't center stage. It wasn't stage left with Representative Murphy (PA) or stage right with Representative Barber (AZ). It was rehearsal. I had my chance to talk about the need for academic reform for mental health professionals. Family members had a chance to talk about their lived experience. Science and data advocates gave the framework of why they studied and not what they studied. This was a powerful first step, in a journey to better outcomes.
- We came, we spoke, what now?
Lisa Lambert – Opportunities like this one rarely come along. The Defiant 8 had a difficult conversation, not because it was contentious but because we brought our hopes and fears with us. But they sat in our back pockets while we listened to each other with respect and caring. I believe that will create a way forward.
"Tampa Conference" Call for proposals is now open!
The 28th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health invites you to submit proposals for research benefiting children, youth and their families. The deadline for submissions is October 24, 2014. Known widely as "The Tampa Conference," this annual gathering of more than 500 researchers, evaluators, policy-makers, administrators, parents, and advocates is sponsored by the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of South Florida, in partnership with the Children's Mental Health Network, the National Wraparound Initiative, Institute for Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health, and the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Rummage through your closet and find your Bermuda shorts, knee-high socks and a bit of zinc oxide to help motivate you to write a winning proposal to present your best work at the conference March 22 - 25, 2015. Oh, did we mention that the average temperature for Tampa, Florida in March is in the high 70's? Just sayin...
Community Catalyst has a job opening tailor-made for Network faithful!
Do you have a passion for health justice? Are you knowledgeable about drug and alcohol addiction? Are you a self-starter who thrives on building relationships and movements? Then, this job is for you. Community Catalyst is seeking a state advocacy manager to help drive national initiatives to reduce addiction though policy and organizing campaigns. The successful candidate will join a dynamic, growing organization at the forefront of health care advocacy that is building on 15 years of success. Get on it, Network faithful!
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